Workshops

Timely, informative workshops are a central feature of the MMA Annual Meeting.


Thursday First Session, 12:30-1:15 p.m.

Economic and Fiscal Outlook
Presented by the Division of Local Services
This workshop will cover important current issues in municipal finance and look at fiscal 2021 and beyond.
Panelists
Sean Cronin, Senior Deputy Commissioner, Division of Local Services
Joanne Graziano, Chief, Bureau of Local Assessment, Division of Local Services
Michael Heffernan, Secretary, Executive Office for Administration and Finance (Live Q&A only)
Geoffrey Snyder, Commissioner, Department of Revenue
Moderator
John Robertson, Legislative Director, MMA
Commissioner of the Dept. of Revenue presentation (300K PDF)
Fiscal Year 2022: Impact of COVID-19 on Your Commercial Assessments – Division of Local Services (830K PDF)

Governing Remotely
This workshop will explore the operation of municipal government during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics will include town meetings, remote hearings and meetings, and elections. Learn about the laws, regulation changes, and executive orders that have shaped this pandemic and State of Emergency.
Panelists
Lauren Goldberg, Shareholder and Managing Partner, KP Law, P.C.
Mark Reich, Shareholder, KP Law, P.C.
Moderator
Brittney Franklin, Senior Legislative Analyst, MMA
Governing Remotely: Challenges, Implementation & Surprises (3M PDF)

Municipalities Lead the Way to Net Zero
Presented by the MMA Policy Committee on Energy and the Environment
The Legislature is on the brink of passing landmark legislation to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This workshop will explore the role of municipalities in helping to meet emissions reduction targets. Panelists will examine case studies from communities across the state as well as a regional net zero planning process.
Panelists
Carolyn Dykema, State Representative, 8th Middlesex District
Ben Hellerstein
, State Director, Environment Massachusetts
Jillian Wilson-Martin, Sustainability Coordinator, Natick
Moderator
Ariela Lovett, Legislative Analyst, MMA
Our Journey to Net Zero: How Municipalities Are Leading the Way (1M PDF)

Ready, Set, Lead! Thriving in a Virtual Reality
Presented by the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association
This session will discuss the adjustment to working virtually during the pandemic. Real human connection has been one of the biggest casualties, and many of us anticipate more of the same in 2021. Since many of us will continue to miss out on in-person opportunities to strengthen bonds with colleagues, reports and residents, it’s important to learn how to be as effective and connected as possible.
Panelists
Cally Ritter, LICSW, Principal, Positive Ripple Training and Consulting
Adam Sutton, Founder, Working Happier

Setting and Achieving Cybersecurity Goals for Your Community
Presented by the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association
This workshop will include an overview of cyber threats from a national, state and local perspective and an outline of the tools MassCyberCenter provides to municipalities, including the Municipal Minimum Baseline of Cybersecurity. A municipal CIO will explain how his community has put these tools in place, and there will be a conversation on how municipalities can create a cybersecurity culture. This will include some reference to services provided to those insured through the MIIA program, specifically how these services fit into a community’s Cyber Incident Response Plan. Time will be set aside at the end of the program for questions.
Panelists
Sam Curry, Chief Security Officer, Cybereason
Michael Kar, cybersecurity attorney, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP
Meg Speranza, Resiliency Program Manager, MassCyberCenter
Mike Steben, Chief Information Officer, City of Pittsfield
Moderator
Stephanie Helm, Director, MassCyberCenter


Thursday Second Session, 2-2:45 p.m.

Getting Public Health Right
This session will explore the lessons learned from the COVID pandemic, and how we can be better prepared for future health crises. It will also discuss ways that regional collaboration is used for emergency preparedness and pandemic planning.
Panelists
Sigalle Reiss, Health Director, Norwood; President, Massachusetts Health Officers Association
Connor Robichaud, Principal Planner, Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission
Moderator
D.J. Wilson, Tobacco Control Director, MMA
Your Local Public Health Department & Cross Jurisdictional Collaboration (600K PDF)
Regional Collaboration and COVID-19 (1M PDF)

Helping Local Businesses
This workshop will cover the ways that cities and towns can help their local businesses survive and thrive during the current economic downturn, as well as ways to promote their downtowns. Learn about relevant state programs and the most effective approaches to downtown revitalization using real community examples.
Panelists
Elizabeth Jenkins, Planning and Development Director, Barnstable
Elizabeth Wurfbain, Executive Director, Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District
Moderator
Emmy Hahn, Program Coordinator, Massachusetts Downtown Initiative, Department of Housing and Community Development

Municipal Law Update
Presented by the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association
Municipal attorneys will bring attendees up to speed on important developments in municipal law as they relate to Massachusetts cities and towns.
Panelists
Donna Brewer, Attorney, Miyares and Harrington
Ellen Callahan Doucette, City Solicitor, Woburn, and President, Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association
Moderator
John Robertson, Legislative Director, MMA
Municipal Law Update: Cases, Legislation and Regulations – Ellen Callahan Doucette (223K PDF)
Updates on Municipal Law: Selected Topics – Donna Brewer (1M PDF)
New Hampshire General Court – Final Report on Commission to Study Environmental and Health Effects of Evolving 5G Technology (8M PDF)

Mutual Aid in Public Works
Presented by the Massachusetts Highway Association
This session will highlight a statewide mutual aid in public works partnership between municipal DPWs and the Department of Transportation. The mutual aid initiative encourages and facilitates communities to provide backup and support to one another during emergencies.
Panelists
Chris Bouchard, Public Works Director, South Hadley; President, Massachusetts Highway Association
David Desrosiers, Highway Superintendent, Granby
David Lane, Public Works Director, Danvers
Moderator
Ariela Lovett, Legislative Analyst, MMA
State of Mass. Mutual Aid Program: Overview and Status Update (5.6M PDF)

Navigating Difficult Conversations About Workforce Diversity
Presented by Massachusetts Municipal Human Resources association
This session will focus on how to have conversations about race, equity and inclusion in the workplace. People often shy away from these conversations due to a fear of saying the wrong thing. This workshop will explain how to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” and provide the tools needed to start difficult conversations about anti-racist values in your community and to initiate change through action.
Panelists
Vanessa Hale, Assistant Town Administrator, Southborough
Kathy Lopes, LICSW, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Newton Public Schools
Moderator
Rachel Glisper, Human Resources Director, Needham
• Diversity in The Workplace presentation (300K PDF)


Friday Session, 11:15 a.m.-12 p.m.

Cultivating Equity in Your Community
Presented by the Massachusetts Select Board Association
This session will focus on best practices in municipal government to ensure equitable engagement of diverse communities. Opportunities for civic engagement should be open and accessible to all, particularly to those who have been historically underrepresented. Learn how to develop equitable community engagement strategies that provide opportunities for all voices to be heard in your community.
Panelists
Dottie Fulginiti, Select Board Chair, Easton
Eunice Zeigler, City Councillor, Methuen
Moderator
Mehreen Butt, Town Councillor, Wakefield
Cultivating Equity in Your Community presentation (750K PDF)

Labor Law Update
Attorneys will discuss recent developments in labor and employment law, including major court cases, agency decisions and legislation.
Panelists
Katherine Hesse, Partner, Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP
Demitrios Moschos, Of Counsel, Seder and Chandler
Melissa Murray, Partner, Norris, Murray & Peloquin, LLC
Moderator
John Robertson, Legislative Director, MMA
Labor Law Update – D.M. Moschos (4.6M PDF)
Mass. Police Reform Bill – Melissa Murray (500K PDF)

Managing Systemic Racism and Bias in Your Police Department
Presented by the Massachusetts Municipal Management Association
This session will explore how racism impacts minority groups within a police department, and proven ways to address the issue and end it both internally and in the wider community.
Panelist
Brett Parson, Lieutenant (retired), Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, D.C., and public safety consultant
Moderators
Nina Nazarian, co-chair, Massachusetts Municipal Management Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force
John Mangiaratti, Town Manager, Acton; co-chair, Massachusetts Municipal Management Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force
A Brief Discussion About Systemic Racism, Both Within a Police Department As Well As in The Community (1.5M PDF)

Pandemic Permitting
This workshop will focus on best practices for the permitting of housing and commercial development during the pandemic. Hear how three very different communities adapted their permitting practices during the pandemic, and what they’ve learned.
Panelists
Jennifer Raitt, Planning and Community Development Director, Arlington; Member, MMA Policy Committee on Municipal and Regional Administration; Board Member, Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Stephen Rolle, Assistant Chief Development Officer, Planning and Regulatory Services, Worcester
Andrew Shapiro, Community and Economic Development Director, North Andover
Michelle Smith, Chief Planner, Worcester
Moderator
Brittney Franklin, Senior Legislative Analyst, MMA
Pandemic Permitting – Arlington (2.6M PDF)
Pandemic Permitting – North Andover (3M PDF)
Pandemic Permitting – Worcester (1.5M PDF)

Water Matters: State, Local, and Regional Perspectives
Presented by the MMA Policy Committee on Energy and the Environment
Experts from state and local government and a regional watershed organization will discuss water resource issues affecting municipalities, including stormwater management, MS4 permitting, PFAS contamination, and the drought.
Panelists
Kerry Reed, Senior Stormwater and Environmental Engineer, Framingham
Martin Suuberg, Commissioner, Department of Environmental Protection
Julie Wormser, Deputy Director, Mystic River Watershed Association
Moderator
Ariela Lovett, Legislative Analyst, MMA
Water Matters: State Perspective – MassDEP (683K PDF)
Water Matters: Municipal Perspective (3M PDF)
Reaching Across Boundaries: Climate Resilience in Boston’s Mystic River Watershed (4M PDF)

The MMA welcomes suggestions from members about the topics you would like to see covered during workshops at future Annual Meetings. Please use this form to share your ideas with us!

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